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FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys entered the 2024 NFL Draft laser focused on getting tougher up front on both sides of the ball after their 48-32 NFC wild-card round postseason defeat against the seventh-seeded Green Bay Packers.

That mission was accomplished after the Cowboys used three of their eight picks on their offensive line (29th overall on Oklahoma offensive tackle Tyler Guyton, 73rd overall on Kansas State interior offensive lineman Cooper Beebe and 233rd overall on Louisiana offensive lineman Nathan Thomas) as well as utilizing three other picks on their front seven (56th overall on Western Michigan defensive Marshawn Kneeland, 87th overall on Notre Dame linebacker Marist Liufau and 244th overall on Auburn defensive tackle Justin Rogers). 

"Why do you rob banks? Because that's where the money is," Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said post-draft Saturday of using three of his eight picks on offensive linemen. 

"I think from an offensive line standpoint obviously when you lose two really good football players in [Pro Bowl center] Tyler Biadasz and [eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle] Tyron Smith, we came in here looking to improve the offensive line to go along with a good young group that we already have," Dallas Cowboys COO and EVP Stephen Jones said post-draft on Saturday. 

2024 Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft Class

RoundOverall PickPlayerGrade


29 (via trade with Detroit Lions)

Tyler Guyton, OT, OklahomaB (Pete Prisco)



Marshawn Kneeland, DE, Western Michigan B- (Chris Trapasso)
373 (via trade with Detroit Lions)Cooper Beebe, OL, Kansas StateB+ (Chris Trapasso)



Marist Liufau, LB, Notre Dame  
C+ (Chris Trapasso)


174 (compensatory pick)

Caelen Carson, CB, Wake ForestB+ (Chris Trapasso)


216 (compensatory pick)

Ryan Flournoy, WR, Southeast Missouri StateA (Chris Trapasso)


233 (via trade with Raiders)

Nathan Thomas, OT, Louisiana-LafayetteA (Chris Trapasso)  



Justin Rogers, DT, AuburnC (Chris Trapasso)

However, they did not select a replacement for Pro Bowl running back Tony Pollard, who departed for the Tennessee Titans in free agency after signing a three-year, $21.8 million deal. The Cowboys thought about reaching for a running back, but they felt strongly about addressing their fronts and the gap between their final pick of the third round (87th overall) and their fifth-round pick (174th overall) caused many of their targets at their position to disappear and fall into the hands of other teams. 

"You know I think a lot of times there's always a question mark of 'would you really, really, really stick to your board?'" Stephen said. "It just felt like every time the situation was there for us to make a pick and do the right thing, it wasn't a running back. We had running backs we'd be thinking 'ok our pick is coming in 10 picks, eight picks, five picks away' and then there would be run. We obviously had a group of running backs there in that space of 75 or 85 players leave the board [in the fourth and fifth rounds], and we had a handful of backs that we would've considered, but it just didn't work out. At the end of the day, you stay true to what you're about. ... We'll have opportunities throughout [the offseason] to address this running back situation, and we fell like we'll get it done. It makes a running back's job a lot easier when the guys up front are doing their job. I think we really helped that situation today in terms of the foundation of our offensive line group. We feel like we can address that [running back] position as we go."

Each of Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy's four seasons with the team have involved either Ezekiel Elliott (2020-2022) or Pollard (2023) be the lead, go-to guy at running back. His 2024 squad, at this moment in time appears to be operating differently. McCarthy alluded to Rico Dowdle (2020 undrafted free agent), Deuce Vaughn (2023 sixth-round pick), new free agent signee Royce Freeman (2018 third-round pick), Hunter Luepke (2023 undrafted free agent) and Malik Davis (2022 undrafted free agent) as players who could factor into the running back rotation. 

"It's a young group, but they all have upside," McCarthy said of his team's running back room. ... "I think they'll be better in the second year of the offense. ... I feel really about where we are today ... and it's [the offseason] not over."  

When asked about the potential of being active in the veteran free agent market, the Cowboys signaled they could be on the precipice of adding some talent, one of which could be a running back. 

"On the phone trying to get our numbers right," Stephen when asked about the potential in signing a veteran free agent like running back Ezekiel Elliott, cornerback Stephon Gilmore or safety Jayron Kearse.

"I've seen teams go on and win the Super bowl after trading for a running back or running backs in midseason," Jerry Jones said after the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday. "My point is this thing is a long way from being over in terms of how you are going to line up in the next six or seven months."

There is also a chance none of the aforementioned running backs currently on the roster begin the 2024 season as the teams' RB1 aka starting running back. Despite totaling career lows in rushing yards (642), rushing touchdowns (three), carries (184) and yards per carry (3.5) for the 4-13 New England Patriots, Jerry Jones reiterated his faith in Elliott, a current free agent who racked up 2016 First Team All-Pro honors and three Pro Bowls in his first four season with the Cowboys after Jones selected him fourth overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. Jones said Elliott would be a fit with Dallas no matter when they sign him, should they reach a deal with him. 

"He's a positive influence at all times," Jerry said of Elliott. "Not one time in maybe some of a critical time has he been anything but a positive to a winning influence as a person and teammate with the Dallas Cowboys. So, that's a big plus that he has. So anytime [would be a good time to have him around]. He is a lift in that area. The bottom line here is he's a positive. I think he should be a positive for this team."